The Frenchman – who spent time earlier in his career with the Gunners, Chelsea and Portsmouth – is currently plying his trade in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow having signed for them in August from Anzhi Makhachkala as a part of the Dagestan outfit’s cost-cutting plans.
Despite him having only been at the club for a short time, City and Arsenal have already made enquiries regarding his signature.
The Premier League duo are both thought to be keen to bolster their midfielder ranks, and are attracted to the 28-year-old’s vast experience.
Diarra himself is believed to be settled in Russia, but the lure of a return to the Premier League may sway his stance, especially with the 2014 World Cup on the horizon.
However, the player’s wage demands might prove to be a stumbling block, with Lokomotiv currently paying him in excess of £65,000-per-week plus bonuses.
French duo Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are also believed to be in the race, with both teams believed to have shown an interest in Diarra before his move to Moscow a matter of months ago.